JSU Receives $364K in Federal Support for Cyber Security Projects


The JSU Center for Information Security and Assurance has received two federal grants totaling more than $364,000 to strengthen cyber security in Northeast Alabama and beyond. 

The National Science Foundation has awarded JSU $229,296 to partner with Snead State Community College to promote cyber security research, education and training in the region. Over the next three years, JSU and Snead will train cyber security instructors to teach and develop curriculum in control system security. The project is directed by Guillermo Francia, JSU professor of computer science, assisted by Terry Marbut, head of the Department of Applied Engineering, and Nouredine Bekhouche, professor of applied engineering.

JSU has also received $134,943 from the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Security Agency to be used over the next year to develop an intelligence monitoring system that will help cyber protect our nation’s critical infrastructures such as nuclear power plants, water distribution systems, transportation systems and manufacturing facilities. This project is also under the oversight of Francia, assisted by Monica Trifas, associate professor of computer science, and Jaedok Kim, associate professor of mathematics.

Francia said the most important aspect of these grants is they will provide ample opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research activities of national significance.

“With an ever-increasing part of our nation’s critical infrastructures in the hands of public and private employees via computer systems, the need for a cybersecurity educated future workforce in cybersecurity has never been so great,” Francia said. “Our critical infrastructures – such as power grids, transportation systems, drinking water and waste water treatment facilities, and manufacturing and defense systems – find themselves increasingly vulnerable to internal and external cyber threats that can cause serious damage to our economy and well being. Since the operation of these infrastructures is heavily dependent on control systems, it is imperative that the future workforce be educated and trained on the security of such systems. “

JSU offers students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience with the latest technology while pursing degrees in a variety of applied engineering, mathematics, computing and information science fields. Learn more at the Department of Mathematical, Computing and Informational Sciences or the Department of Applied Engineering